I was just reading Tuesday's Vancouver Sun
(April 1), and came across an interesting blogspot-worthy article:
_______________________________________________B.C.'s oldest resident, 107, was a citizen of the world
The oldest person in British Columbia has died at the age of 107.
Jean Piry was one of the rare people to live in three centuries, and two millennia. He was also a true citizen of the world. Born in Hong Kong, raised in Shanghai and a Vancouver resident since 1968, Piry was of Eurasian descent (his father was French, his mother Chinese) and was fluent in five languages -- English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Shanghainese.
His paternal grandfather, Pierre Piry, moved to China in 1865 and established the post office in Shanghai. He married a Chinese woman and had six children.. including Arthur Piry, Jean's father.
Jean Piry never knew his mother, who died during his birth. He was raised by his father's sister in Shanghai, back when it was an economic hub with a very cosmopolitan population.
During the First World War, he joined the French army (although he'd never lived in France) and was sent to Siberia to fight the Bolsheviks. Last year, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal by the French consul in Vancouver.
He lived through the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in the Second World War, then lost his import-export business after Mao's Communists took over in 1949. But when he finally was allowed to leave China for Hong Kong in 1951, he rebuilt the business.. which he tan until he retired and moved to Canada.
In 1929, he married Sonia Gotfried, a young woman of Jewish and Polish descent. They had three children: Janet, Pierre, and Daniel.
His son Pierre moved to Canada in 1959 to study at the University of B.C., and the rest of the family followed him to Vancouver. For many years, Jean and Sonia had an apartment in the South Granville area.. but in 2000, they moved to the Royal Arch Masonic Home (in Champlain Heights).
Sonia died in March 2002. The couple were together for 71 years.
To put his long life into perspective: when Piry was born on Jan. 5, 1896.. the city of Vancouver was only 11 years old. China was still run by the Emperor Henry P'u Yi of the Ch'ing (Qing) Dynasty, and Queen Victoria was in her 59th year on the throne. Piry was born in the year gold was discovered in the Klondike, and the year of the first motion pictures.
Interesting stuff, that..
and he didn't just live in BC.. he lived in VANCOUVER. :P (hehehe)
Labels: 2000, 2002, arthur, canada, danielle, henry, japan, news, sonia, victoria